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Young workers have unique risk factors for injuries

These include:

  • Lack of experience with the job
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Want to prove themselves
  • Won’t ask questions
  • Unaware of risks on the job
  • Lack of safety training
  • Are unfamiliar with rights and responsibilities

It is very important to consider these characteristics of young workers when you plan a proper orientation, training, and supervision of a new young worker.
 

Know and adhere to child labor laws

You should know:

  • What hours are restricted for youth
  • Types of work that youth are not allowed to do

Get information on child labor at BOLI
Get the Oregon Employment of Minors Brochure: English or Spanish
Check out the Oregon Employment of Minors FAQs
Get information on US child labor law at Youth Rules!

What More Can Employers Do?

Make orientations age appropriate

  • Give more detailed instructions
  • Make the orientation to specific task skills
  • Be clear about the health and safety protocols
  • Establish communication lines, who do they report health and safety concerns to and how will they be addressed?
  • Encourage questions
  • Youth may be anxious about speaking up if they are not sure about a task or if they have a health and safety concern.  Make it clear for them to ask questions if they are not sure about something, and who they can ask questions of.

Develop a safety orientation checklist designed to remind supervisors of common health and safety problems and what should be covered in orientation. Topics may include:

  • Emergency procedures
  • Physical demands
  • Office hazards
  • Hazardous materials
  • Protective clothing and equipment
  • Tools and equipment
  • Electrical safety
  • Other hazards
Make trainings age appropriate

  • Make it fun and easy to understand
  • Keep instructions direct, short and simple
  • Participatory
  • Encourage questions
  • Frequently review and retrain
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition

Make safety training clear

  • Describe your written health and safety policies
  • Let them know about your injury and illness prevention program
  • Safety training should be “hands on”
  • Constantly review

Supervision of young workers is important

  • Observe young workers and correct mistakes immediately
  • Teens should not work alone
  • Involve co-workers in supervising and mentoring
    • mentoring program w/ experienced workers
    • include experienced teens